Is there a top ten list for CPUs?

Black Friday is coming and we will see deals from every source. I am tired of using trailing edge hardware that is “good enough for me.” I have just received an ad for a kit that looks good at a low price. I expect to see more in the run-up to Black Friday.

What will help me in a purchasing decision is a “top ten list” of CPUs and perhaps mother boards. A blacklist would also help. With performance ratcheting up and prices coming down, I want to avoid tech that is about to become obsolete. If I see an ad for a pc and I see the words Celeron or Semperon, I stop looking. However, I have no idea what the minimum amount of “cores” I should consider and what is overkill.

Similarly with memory; until recently I have run opensuse on computers with as little as 256 MB of memory. Not any more. I try for 2 GB, but how much is too much? 8 GB? 6GB? Should I jump right to DDR3 or does DDR2 still have value?

I’m not a gamer, so top level graphics aren’t necessary. Tom’s Hardware had a list that was the “pecking order” for graphic’s cards. That was very useful, but it did not include onboard video. I hope someone could give me a useful list like that for CPUs with, perhaps, a little narrative thrown in.

I use this.
PassMark - CPU Benchmarks - List of Benchmarked CPUs

It all depends on what your wanting to do. If your looking at virtualization with say Xen, then get 8GB else I would target 4GB. Get a Nvidia card again depends on what you want to do, CUDA maybe?

You also need to look at drives… Those new WD Raptors 10K 6G/bs are looking cool! Else I would recommend a WD RE3 drive, I run them here and they have a longer warranty.

I use this Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: September 2010

Prexy wrote:
> I want to avoid tech that is about to become obsolete. … I hope
> someone could give me a useful list like that for CPUs with,
> perhaps, a little narrative thrown in.

i don’t have a list of CPUs, but here is a little narrative thrown in:

all tech is about to become obsolete.

that is the nature of the game no matter which you are playing (lead
the field or catch-up)…

it is especially true if your game is to have the latest and
greatest hardware…

on the other hand if you game is having something besides just
hardware…like having a TOOL to do something with…a tool that is a
stable, usable, dependable, capable system for (you name it) browsing,
writing letters, listening to music, chatting, watching streaming
video, Skyping, writing your doctoral dissertation, googling, running
a mail server 24x7, playing WoW, etc etc etc…

then, in those cases the latest and greatest hardware is not even
needed…but, if you wanna render a 3D movie using a hollywood fork
of GIMP, THEN you’ll need 12 cores and two dozen billion bytes of RAM,

since you didn’t say if you are a simple desktop user or crunching
numbers for CERN, NSA, NASA, etc etc etc it is really hard for
passersby to make a meaningful comment…

and, anyway, no matter what is on their list (or yours) it too will
soon be obsolete…

on the other hand, my five year old single core AMD still waits on me
a lot more often than i wait for it…

When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
CAVEAT: [posted via NNTP w/openSUSE 10.3]

A lot has been said, think about this:

DDR3 is becoming the new standard, for the near future. If you buy a DDR2 motherboard and want to expand in a couple of years it may be harder to find, more expensive. I would go for DDR3, for future compatibility.
If you want fast boot times, put in a small 30GB SSD for “/”.
Video-editing/conversion? Spend money on CPU power and lots of RAM.
Planning to run VirtualBox with multiple OSs? 8GB RAM sure helps.

I usually have a rule of thumb is to select the latest architecture which is more modern / faster and more power efficient, 32nm can be a good choice

example is an old Pentium at 3.2 GHz is slower than a modern Atom processor

good luck Prexy

…hmmm, maybe you should try ‘good enough for me’, and see how you like that :wink:
(although, good enough for you, might even be a lower standard :shame: )

  • The most important, and first, rule with memory is to have enough. Always worry about that before worrying about memory clocks, memory timings, etc.
    Have a look at how much you are using now (ram plus swap in use, when the system is busy) and ensure that you buy more than that…you may blame this increasing use on ‘bloat’, if you like, but it is a fact of life, so whether you complain or not, you are better off learning to live with it

  • have some scheme to buy even more, after a while, when that proves not enough (ie, look at number of sockets and the max memory capacity and ensure that is adequate and don’t fill all the sockets, unless you are prepared to throw memory away, when upgrade time comes)

If you don’t give a stuff about the level of performance needed for playing recent games, the performance of on board graphics can be adequate for you; it saves money in purchase price and it it saves heat/power consumption. So there is a good argument for onboard, but, under Linux, deciding between nVidia and ATI/AMD is tricky; neither have perfect and trouble free records with Linux support. nVidia has been adequate for far longer, but ATI/AMD hardware probably has the edge at the moment.

Expect to have an extra level of fiddling about getting acceleration working with either, and you’ll either be not disappointed or pleasantly surprised at every install.

Intel Graphics (& I write this from a Laptop with Intel graphics) have been less than wonderful* (in purely performance terms) for a long time now, but well supported. There are forthcoming chips with on-chip graphics that promise improved performance (but I don’t remember an Intel Graphics generation that didn’t promise vastly improved performance, and still manage to be less than wonderful, or, at least poor, by the time that they were released). And, this ‘Black Friday’ is too soon for bargains on these latest development, presumably.

Avoiding Semperon and Celeron seems like a good rule of thumb. As a very general rule of thumb, at the bargain-basement-to-mid-end levels of performance AMD rules the roost in bang per buck. If you are really looking at the high end, AMD is having difficulty getting within spitting distance of Intel’s highest performance parts.


AMD’s problem is that their ‘instructions per clock’ is lower than Intel. they are coming up with a new arch (last I heard, first parts early next year) and until then they are competing by giving you ‘more cores for your money’ than Intel. More cores are good, buit as, on a desktop, current software tasks are not infinitely parallelalisable (is that a word? Is now!), or anywhere near, so, unless your workload is unusual there is a limited gain on the desktop (as opposed to some server situations) from more cores than, say, a couple. 3 (AMD only) or 4 cores would be pretty good, but, on today’s software, going beyond that probably only gives you a big bang if you are also running, say, Apache on your desktop machine, which you may be, of course.

The AMD Phenoms are pretty good and represent pretty good value in the ‘just above bargain basement’ price area; some of the two core ones will core unlock to give you more cores for free; only do this if the part you are buying seems like good value without the core unlock, because not all parts co-operate (and some mobos/bioss won’t play).

If you are getting an AMD board, get the latest standard (AM3?), which has some chance of being 'dozer compatible, although I believe that a new standard called AM3+ is being defined, there is some degree of backward compatibility.

The Intel i3 series is transitioning from one socket spec to another, so if you buy a board to the obsolescent spec, get it for a bargain price or don’t bother!


all tech is about to become obsolete.

Absolutely, and there is a good and a bad side to that. On the one hand I can dig out some hulking Industrial Archeology that is no use as anything but a doorstop (even if it does have more computing power than the moon lander, it is less powerful than a snappy mobile phone) but it is what gives us today’s ‘by historical standards, massive bang for the buck’ machines. And that’s what makes it fun, at times.

(* Apparently, I’m not allowed to use the very common word that I would have chosen here, but if you consider it to be be the Xerox Paolo Alto Research Center (PARC), backwards, you wouldn’t be far out, although they always were.)

Thanks! Lots of good stuff. I’m going to bookmark this thread as a reference as I “shop.”

A good motherboard is as important as a good CPU. A fast CPU doesn’t help if it cannot access the RAM well enough. The size of RAM for running 11.3 should be at around 3 to 4 GB. I don’t use KDE, so the numbers might be a bit higher. With fluxbox the kernel rarely uses more than 2 GB, when I use KVM it’s certainly different. When I buy RAM I always check which has the best price per GB. That’s usually more than I need :slight_smile:

Any motherboards to avoid? Or a few that stand out as good deals?

My experience in watching the recommendations on the forums is the recommendations for motherboards tends to be 50% emotional.

For example, I’ve read many users express a strong dislike for Asus, and yet I have two Asus motherboards in my PCs that have served me well and I only have good experience with my Asus motherboards (mind you in EACH case I checked for Linux compatibility PRIOR to purchase).

My main PC has an Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard (and an older Intel Core i7 920 CPU) and it works extremely well with Linux. Of course given it partly has linux in “prom” with its Asus express gate capability has mostly assured Linux compatibility on that motherboard. I’ve actually never used the Express Gate (that comes with the motherboard) and many consider the ‘express gate’ a gimic, but I do not consider it a ‘gimic’. Rather I view it as a relative ‘stamp’ of Linux compatibility.

There are many good mother boards out there. My recommendation is to create your self a short list of 3 or 4 motherboards, and then research each for Linux compatibility.

I can only recommend to read some motherboard tests thoroughly for at over several months or at least several from different sources. Everybody tests differently